Computational creativity and the future of AI

MH-2 is the tiny wearable telepresence humanoid robot you've always wanted


June 7, 2012

The MH-2 telepresence robot mimics the movements of its remote operator (Photo: Yamagata U...

The MH-2 telepresence robot mimics the movements of its remote operator (Photo: Yamagata University)

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The MH-2 is a telepresence robot like no other we have seen, and believe us, we’ve seen our share of weird robots. This tiny humanoid figure is always there for you, perching on your shoulder, ready to be remotely inhabited by your friends. Conceived by the researchers at Yamagata University in Japan, MH-2 is designed to imitate human behavior accurately enough for you to feel like your friend is actually there with you.

The truth, however, is that this friend of yours is back at home, in the living room, making wild gestures in front of some sort of a motion capture set-up and watching the video captured in real time by the MH-2. Meanwhile, the robot is busy copying all these movements, flailing its limbs around and acting as a physical beacon of your friend’s engagement in the situation. The robot's expressive capabilities are impressive, with the arms having seven degrees of freedom (DoF), while the head has three DoF, and the body has two, plus one more dedicated to imitating breathing movements.

The MH-2 is a wearable miniature humanoid telepresence robot (Photo: Yamagata University)

Although both the friend and the robot are guaranteed quite a workout, it’s you who needs to do most of the heavy lifting. To make sure your Miniature Humanoid’s movements are smooth, as many as 22 bulky actuators are required. You need to carry the servomotors in your backpack so that they can pull the strings attached to the robot's joints, causing it to move.

The robot is actuated by 22 servomotors packed in a backpack (Photo: Yamagata University)

The researchers are already at work trying to make the whole package a little smaller and more convenient, but obviously the MH-2 has never been about convenience in the first place. It’s not a production prototype. It's a bold experiment in human-robot relations.

Source: Yamagata University via IEEE Spectrum

About the Author
Jan Belezina Formerly in charge of Engadget Poland, Jan Belezina's long time fascination with the advance of new technology has led him to become Gizmag's eyes and ears in Eastern Europe.   All articles by Jan Belezina

Actually I think I will wait for the version out of Spy Kids. The little bug like guy. He would be a lot easier on the back I think, lol. However, the concept is interesting and I believe it won't be long until we have the bot without all the heavy hardware.

Bonnie Dillabough
8th June, 2012 @ 09:35 am PDT

This probably has uses in other applications, but not for phone calls.

Thomas Roberts
8th June, 2012 @ 11:48 am PDT
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